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[Cfamily]Bring Back Isaac Watts’s Biggest Hit
« Reply #1680 on: June 23, 2020, 01:00:28 AM »

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Bring Back Isaac Watts’s Biggest Hit

You’ve probably never heard this famous hymn. That’s a shame.


The church has forgotten the old hymn “Come, We That Love the Lord.” I’ve never heard this song in any worship service and I’ll bet you haven’t either. Try to hum the opening line.


Of course a lot of hymns are forgotten, but this was Isaac Watts’s biggest hit—more widely published than anything else he wrote. Today, Watts’s most popular hymns are “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and “Joy to the World.” Many churches also occasionally sing a short catalog of his other work: “Alas and Did my Savior Bleed,” “Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun,” “O God our Help in Ages Past,” and “There is a Land of Pure Delight.”


Some of Watts’s hymns are rightly forgotten. He wrote many, and some have not stood the test of time. I know that as part of the worship team at Redeemer Church in Nottingham, England, I wouldn’t ask my church to sing “Blest Is the Man Whose Bowels Move.” It doesn’t hold up today.


But “Come, We That Love the Lord” should still be sung. It’s an amazing hymn, and it exemplifies the best of what Watts did and why he was regarded for so long as the father of English hymnody. The hymn was published in more than 1,600 hymnals from the time he wrote it in the 1700s until we stopped singing it—for some reason—in the 20th century.


This hymn puts Christ at the center of our worship. It understands the importance of human affections in worship and weaves Scripture together with a pastoral concern for songs of hope. Finally, it points Christians to the day they will be united with Christ. This is what we want in our worship.


It starts out simple, ...

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Dozens of Christian College Faculty Eliminated in Spring Budget Cuts

For evangelical schools, declining enrollment poses a greater challenge than COVID-19.


Five evangelical Christian colleges and universities have eliminated more than 150 faculty and staff positions this spring. While some officials cite COVID-19 as the reason for the cuts, most say the financial reckoning comes in response to the ongoing crisis of higher education and their efforts to prepare for the future.


School officials have confirmed the following cuts:



     
  • Bethel University (Minnesota)—36 faculty, 28 staff, two masters programs, 11 majors

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  • Southeastern University (Florida)—32 faculty and two staff

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  • Hardin-Simmons University (Texas)—17 faculty, 14 staff, 22 programs and seminary

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  • John Brown University (Arkansas)—25 positions, including at least five faculty

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  • Harding University (Arkansas)—10 faculty and administration and closed North Little Rock location


Other schools, including Taylor University in Indiana and Charleston Southern University in South Carolina have furloughed employees to save money, but not eliminated positions.


“Institutions are often required to make strategic and necessary changes based on a number of factors,” said Shirley Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). “But at the end of the day, these decisions are made to ensure the future financial viability of the institution.”


Eliminating positions may, in some cases, mean laying off faculty or staff. More often, however, administrators make cuts by not filling vacant positions, declining to replace people who have retired or taken another job. Many schools across the country have had hiring freezes, and some make the smaller rosters permanent after a period of time.


School administrators say the decisions hurt but are necessary. They hope the tough calls ...

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[Cfamily]Local Churches Seize the Initiative of Bible Translation
« Reply #1682 on: June 25, 2020, 01:00:26 AM »
Local Churches Seize the Initiative of Bible Translation

Advances in technology mean Christians without Scripture don't have to wait.


For years, Bible translation stories went something like this: A Western couple would approach a translation organization about their calling to translate the Bible. The couple would embark on a multiyear process of raising support and an even longer process of language learning. They would study linguistics for at least two years. Then, after arriving in the country, they would study a regional trade language. Then they would begin to learn the local language. When they became fluent, the translation process could start.


“From vision to verse, it was a six-to eight-year process,” said David Thomas, the American Bible Society’s managing director of translation.


Some are trying new approaches to speed this long process up. In 2015, Wycliffe Associates announced that a team had been able to translate almost half of the New Testament in two weeks by working on the text simultaneously instead of sequentially and forgoing training on translation principles. The new process seemed promising, but a peer review challenged the accuracy of the translation.


The bigger factor has been new technology and increased collaboration. For example, Every Tribe Every Nation, a coalition of the biggest Bible translation organizations, has developed a digital library with more than 2,000 texts in 1,400 languages to aid translation.


Perhaps most significantly, the digital developments in Bible translation have empowered local churches around the world to seize the initiative. Instead of waiting for Westerners, these Christians have started pushing forward with what Thomas calls a “holy impatience.” They’ve taken more control, fueling the growth of a church-centered translation movement.


“Churches are saying, ...

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[Cfamily]Can the Church Save Marriage?
« Reply #1683 on: June 26, 2020, 01:00:33 AM »
Can the Church Save Marriage?

Matrimony rates are in decline, even among conservative Christians. Here’s what that means for the future.


For Rachel, the educational phase of her life was about freedom and independence, not commitments. She met plenty of men in her 20s, but none of them was ready for a serious relationship. She doesn’t entirely blame them. “Men have gotten rightfully confused about what the heck women want,” she said, “and aren’t really sure how to date women.”


After moving to Austin, Rachel met her husband on the dating site OkCupid “because I’m cheap,” she said, laughing, “and it was free.” Her marriage preceded her conversion, yet the two events felt like a package deal. Before becoming a Christian, sex was less meaningful, cohabitation was defensible, and marriage was a piece of paper issued by the state. No longer. After coming to faith and joining a Southern Baptist church, she now believes that marriage is a covenant before God and a sacred relationship.


Even more than marriage, the arrival of children matured the love between Rachel and her husband. Starting a family felt natural and intuitive. But she’s convinced that her husband and many men like him view work, marriage, and family as something more practical and functional. “I think men are meant to be the providers,” Rachel said. “You know that’s kind of what they’re designed for.”


Although Rachel landed on her feet, the fact is that fewer and fewer men like her husband are opting into matrimony and family. According to a Census Bureau survey taken in 2018, only 35 percent of 25- to 34-year-old men were married, a precipitous and rapid plunge from 50 percent in 2005.


These numbers point toward a clear and frightening trajectory: Marriage is getting rarer. Fast.


Getting married ...

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[Cfamily]One-on-One with Tony Merida on Christ-Centered Conflict Resolution
« Reply #1684 on: June 27, 2020, 01:00:32 AM »
One-on-One with Tony Merida on Christ-Centered Conflict Resolution

When you’re in a conflict, you don’t want a bunch of steps, and you don’t want a big book.


Ed: Why did you write this book and what got you interested in this topic?


Tony: I deal with conflict daily as a pastor as well as a human being living in a fallen world! So it’s something that has great relevance. I have benefited from various books through the years on this subject, like Sande’s The Peacemaker and Poiri’s The Peacemaking Pastor. While I will continue using these wonderful books, I wanted to write something smaller and a bit more simple and to the point.


When you’re in a conflict, you don’t want a bunch of steps, and you don’t want a big book. You need biblical texts that point you to Jesus, so I tried to gather relevant texts in order to help the readers deal with their hearts and to help encourage them toward peacemaking in their relationships.


Ed: Who did you write it for?


Tony: I suppose you could say I wrote it for humanity in general because everyone deals with conflict! But to be more specific, I had in mind people in my church coming to me who are facing conflict. This might be a marital conflict, a conflict with children, or with one’s friends, neighbors, or fellow church members.


I also wrote it for pastors and ministry leaders. I envision them having a stack of these little books that they will hand out as they are helping individuals and families work through conflict resolution.


Ed: How have you seen relational dynamics and conflict change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic?


Tony: I’m not sure they’ve changed, but they have intensified for many. To be sure, COVID-19 has actually helped some relationships and marriages! What was hurting some marriages was life lived at too fast of a pace or with constant travel creating separation. But for ...

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Mississippi Baptists: Removing Confederate Flag Emblem Is a ‘Moral Obligation’

The largest Christian group in the state joins calls to change the state flag.


Mississippi’s largest religious group said Tuesday that state lawmakers have a moral obligation to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag because many people are “hurt and shamed” by the symbol.


“While some may see the current flag as a celebration of heritage, a significant portion of our state sees it as a relic of racism and a symbol of hatred,” the Mississippi Baptist Convention said in a statement. “The racial overtones of this flag’s appearance make this discussion a moral issue.”


The conservative-leaning and majority-white Southern Baptist group has more than 500,000 members in the state, in more than 2,100 churches. Mississippi’s population is about 3 million, and 38 percent of residents are African American.


Protests against racial injustice across the US are focusing new attention on the flag and other Confederate symbols. The Baptist Convention joins the NCAA, the Southeastern Conference, prominent business organizations, members of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus, and other religious groups in calling for change to the last state flag that includes the Confederate emblem—a red field topped by a blue X with 13 white stars.


Back in 2015, Mississippi native and Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore recalled how he decided to stop displaying his state flag when he realized how African Americans might view the symbol.


“I found myself wincing, wondering what the flag communicates. Should I explain this is not the Confederate flag? I wish it were different, but it’s not,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post.



White supremacists in the Mississippi legislature embedded the Confederate symbol ...

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[Cfamily]The Jury Is Still Out on Europe’s Religious Future
« Reply #1686 on: June 29, 2020, 01:00:30 AM »
The Jury Is Still Out on Europe’s Religious Future

The moral revolution of the 1960s dealt a blow to Christian faith on the continent, but it might not have the final word.


Conservatives, in the United States and elsewhere, are sometimes faulted for blaming “the 1960s” for many of today’s most persistent social ills. Surveying the situation in contemporary Europe, French social theorist Olivier Roy suggests that they are mostly right—at least with respect to recognizing that the 1960s mark a moral and religious watershed in modern history.


The fallout from that decade sets the backdrop for the question posed in Roy’s pointedly titled book Is Europe Christian? Not mincing words, Roy argues that “[e]verything changed in the 1960s,” when a “revolution in morality took place” and a “new anthropology centred on human freedom” was born.


Roy is a professor at the prestigious European University Institute in Fiesole, Italy, and a longtime student of contemporary European religiosity (and secularity). He has emerged as one of the most astute scholars in his field—comparable to the late sociologist Peter Berger in his wide-ranging interests, theological and historical literacy, humor, and gifted writing. Much of his work remains in French, so the Anglophone world owes a debt to London’s Hurst Publishers for sponsoring this translation.


A Complete Anthropological Revolution


A compact book can only accomplish so much, but Is Europe Christian? nicely introduces the contours of Roy’s thought on the contemporary religious scene in Europe—although much of what he writes might apply to other Western countries as well. Careful with terms, Roy makes a crucial distinction between secularization and dechristianization. The former process, understood politically as the rise of tolerance and religious freedom, has been taking place ...

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https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/june-web-only/olivier-roy-europe-christian-secular-1960s.html
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[Cfamily]Living Water that Satisfies Completely
« Reply #1687 on: June 30, 2020, 01:00:33 AM »
Living Water that Satisfies Completely

All of us are thirsty, longing for something that will satisfy us completely.


In J. R. R. Tolkien’s famous series The Lord of the Rings, a creature called Gollum becomes consumed by an obsession with the One Ring. Gollum was originally a hobbit-like creature known as Smeagol, who murdered his friend to take possession of the ring shortly after he discovered it.


Smeagol’s family later shunned and exiled him because of his deceitful and disruptive ways when using the ring, which made him invisible. Gollum had an insatiable hunger for the ring and its power. He centered his entire life around owning it and recovering it after he lost it, and it cost him everything.


Although our cravings may not be as extreme as Gollum’s addiction, we all have things we desire in life. Children chase after an extra cookie or longer time at recess. Adults desire certain relationships or positions at work. We all tend to place a higher priority on pursuing those things that we believe will satisfy a longing in our hearts. We were created to hunger and strive with the hope of satisfaction; the question is “What will satisfy?”


In John 4, Jesus encountered a woman at a well. Although she may not have realized it, this Samaritan woman was needy for a solution to her sin; as with all people today, apart from Christ, we are all enemies of God.


Jesus highlighted her need for a permanent solution to her deepest thirst, telling her that she should be begging him for a drink of the water he was able to offer—“living water.”


Without new birth in Christ (see John 3), we all have dirty hearts and we are all riddled with sin. Our sinful nature has estranged humanity from God since the fall. In fact, not only are we estranged from God but our sin causes there to be enmity, or hostility, between ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/aEhwn-HwAs8/living-water-that-satisfies-completely.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/118020.png?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/june/living-water-that-satisfies-completely.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=aEhwn-HwAs8:9w74Ll2jGKk:yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=aEhwn-HwAs8:9w74Ll2jGKk:V_sGLiPBpWU
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/aEhwn-HwAs8
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